Shelbyville-Bedford Teachers on Tour: Connecting classroom learning to career opportunities.

August 10, 2022

With the booming investment in automated vehicle production, including the recent announcement of the $95 million Duksan plant, it’s clear that America’s industrial renaissance has arrived in Middle Tennessee. Poised to reap the advantages, Shelbyville-Bedford County is also ready to spur vital growth through the collaborative efforts of local stakeholders including educators, industrial leaders and the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership. Working in concert, business and education leaders aim to improve workforce preparedness and quality.

One powerful example: The recent Teachers on Tour, sponsored by the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership, which brought Bedford County middle school and high school teachers on to the shop floors and into the workplaces of local industries. Teachers toured the distribution operations of Newell Brands, Titan Transfer’s transportation operation, Marelli’s advanced manufacturing plant and Cooper Steel’s fabrication plant. The experience allowed teachers to see first-hand the career opportunities that await their high school students after graduation, and to learn how classroom activities and curricula can better prepare those students to flourish in those careers.

Ready for college. Ready for a career. Ready for life.

“Whether college-ready or career-ready, we want our students to graduate ready to launch a life of success and productivity,” said Dr. Tammy Garrett, Bedford County Director of Schools. “Teachers on Tour adds a strong component to our career-ready equation.”

Teachers on Tour was enlightening for many, as teachers learned that today’s industrial jobs can be engaging and challenging, and can be especially ideal for students eager to begin “real life.” After seeing Cooper Steel, a teacher noted, “I didn’t realize the scope of what Cooper does as a company and the opportunities available for BCS students.” In fact, students who say they want to “get out of Shelbyville” can find a new world of opportunity right here.

The experience was also useful: After touring the Marelli plant, another educator noted, “We got great insight about how to prepare students to enter the workforce straight from high school.” Teachers also learned about the tools and resources that Marelli and other companies offer to help students gain needed skills.

A win-win collaborative event.

“Teachers on Tour was a win-win event,” noted Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership President and CEO Shane Hooper. “We believe that the support from our industrial partners, which we very much appreciated, will yield benefits for them in the future.”

According to Hooper, the Partnership will continue its comprehensive and collaborative efforts to align workforce skills with workforce needs. “Prosperity through partnership. That’s our guiding goal.”


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